Round and About in Old Isleworth

A delightful film was made by a local resident about Park Road Allotments emphasising their value and deterioration largely since the Northumberland Estate took back management occasioned by uncertainties as to their long term future caused by the application to build on the land, thankfully turned down, and compounded by refusal of the Estate to permit new plot holders. The film was due to be shown on BBC l’s Inside Out programme in November. At the last moment it was pulled in light of the fact the Estate’s representatives declined to be interviewed to explain their stance. It can now be viewed on


Sadly, despite the strength of the Appeal Inspector’s remarks when refusing the 2018 appeal to build 127 units on the allotment land, it has come to light that as part of compiling a new management plan for Syon Estate’s land it is likely this will include a proposal to build on, at minimum, a portion of the allotments which have existed since 1917.  TIS is supporting allotment holders in their continuing fight to retain this last remaining valued vestige of cultivated land left in the vicinity, a reminder that once the area was renowned for its orchards and market gardens.  The need for retention is much reinforced by the fact it is known that within the Borough and locally there is a large waiting list for allotments plots.


Strangely, before completing its management plan, and without any indication of what is likely to replace the Wyevale Garden Centre and headquarters, the Syon Estate has submitted a planning application  to run a link road through the Grade l Listed parkland as a spur off the vehicle entrance currently restricted to access for deliveries to the hotel.  This is proposed as a one way exit, would be 3 metres wide with a 1 metre service strip, and full stretch of 179 metres, involving loss of 440 acres of grassland.  Apart from the park having been designed by Capability Brown and still being largely intact, a rarity in London, it is designated as Metropolitan Open Land intended to give it the same protected status as Green Belt.   One reason given for the request is that it will improve journey times from those afforded via Park Road for clients of the hotel heading for Heathrow. This does not add up.  No right turn is permitted from London Road at Busch Corner to Spur Road, thus a left turn from the park would necessitate using narrow residential Syon Lane and manoeuvring the notorious bottleneck at Syon Lane/Spur Road junction with a left turn to access the A4.  This route would also adversely affect the amenities of a lot of local residential properties.  TIS is objecting to the application and comments have also been submitted by Brentford Voice and Brentford Community Council.


Another contentious issue involves the proposed cycle route from Twickenham station to Brentford.  Following an initial consultation the Council agreed to go ahead with the Worple Road section and that via North Street and through Syon Park, but deferred that on the South Street portion.  Various objections were raised on this, not least joint use for pedestrians and cyclists along the area in front of Isleworth Public Hall/Blue School entrance and alterations to the Glossop Memorial grassed area.  A revised plan is to move the H37 bus stop outside the Public Hall to between the toucan crossing zig-zag lines and where cars are parked.  This is marked with double yellow lines to prevent parking presumably because it is on a slight bend and if cars parked both sides narrowing the road two large vehicles could not pass one another.   Only a half bus shelter would be provided at the new location. The South Street pillar box would be moved and possibly some lamp posts re-sited; a zebra crossing would be installed on the cycle path near the Glossop Memorial and this path would be highlighted by use of black bitumen.   The results of a further consultation indicate considerable local opposition to the new plan. For this reason, it will be a topic on the agenda for discussion at Isleworth & Brentford Area Forum held in the Music Room of Spring Grove House, London Road, 7.30 p.m. Wednesday 5th February.  This is an open public meeting and if you have views on what is proposed provides the opportunity to air them.


It looks like work is going on at 1-2 The Pavement, formerly Taylors, although at the time of going to press, the latest planning application is not shown as determined. Rumour has it the intention, with some additions and a new shop front, is it may become a Sainsbury Local.  Also affecting this street and those Boroughwide is that effective 16th December Pay and Display facilities for vehicles have changed, with RingGo replaced by PaybyPhone available on a mobile App, contacting website, or calling 020 3357 4993.


With stalwart Royal British Legion volunteers based primarily, but not exclusively, at Tesco Mogden Lane and Osterley an amazing grand total of £28,210 was raised in Isleworth during the 2019 Poppy Day appeal prior to Remembrance Sunday, 10th November.  On that day Isleworth’s Remembrance Day commemoration once more attracted over 1,000 attendees with the service on this occasion led by the Revd Maclure of St John the Baptist with St Mary’s Church.   As has become customary TIS laid a wreath along with many other local organisations. It was felt appropriate that fewer pupils would take part in this parade with smaller representations from each of Isleworth Blue Church of England, Isleworth Town, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary, Bolder Academy, the Green School for Girls as well as the Boys and Isleworth & Syon.    


One aspect of Hounslow’s Greener, Cleaner Borough project is to create wildflower areas. Among the first to be chosen for this is the open land opposite Ivybridge shopping parade at the Crane Avenue junction where preparation work and seeding took place in December.  At the same location the area around the former air-raid shelters is intended to become a “poppy patch” and will be sown in Spring by local residents under the auspices of Friends of Northcote Avenue Nature Reserve.


On TIS’s suggested Twickenham Road sites the strip of grassed area outside Ridgemead House near Busch Corner has been chosen, dug over and seeded with wildflowers.  More seeding may take place in the Spring and further suggested locations for greening this road, currently shelved, may be re-considered after results of initial planting are analysed. In addition, TIS is in discussion with the Council and Hounslow Highways to seek improvements to the landscaping surrounding the Clock Tower War Memorial as well as the memorial itself which is in need of some light touch renovation, the last comprehensive works having taken place around 2002.  This is made especially important in light of the 100th anniversary of erection of the memorial falling in 2022 intended to be a cause for commemoration.  Another “greening” proposal is the location of unmarked graves to the rear of Park Road cemetery along the boundary wall which would benefit from consideration for swathes of wildflowers.


Returning to the subject of the cemetery, for those interested in statistics, a Burial Board was set up 1877 to consider purchase of a new site, necessitated by All Saints’ Churchyard rapidly becoming full.  Over 6 acres of land in Park Road was duly purchased from the Duke of Northumberland for £4,769.  Building work cost £5,870 consisting of two chapels, one Anglican, one non-conformist, the Superintendent’s Lodge, mortuary, boundary walls, railings and gates. The site provided 434 spaces, enabling 150 burials a year.  Purchase price for graves in the 1880s ranged according to their position from £2.13s. for a front row location to £1.12s.  


There are some 58 of the well-known style war headstones, 30 from the First World War the remainder the Second, as well as many whose names recorded were once familiar, John Weathers the Nurseryman who laid out and planted the grounds; Mr Mayger an Undertaker who must have visited professionally on numerous occasions; Father Eric Green, the Catholic Priest whose memorial by his own wish includes “also commemorates all Catholics buried in this cemetery”.  Alice Ayres, ex-Green School pupil and Victorian heroine who died after saving children’s lives in a house fire. Andrew Pears of Pears Soap fame, his son Thomas who died when the Titanic sank although not buried here is commemorated.  A perhaps unusual headstone is of John Galloway who died 1907 aged 84 stating it was erected by Andrew Pears “in recognition of his old friend’s 63 devoted years’ service to the employ of A&F Pears”.      On a completely different historical tack, an ITV programme Windows of the Soul was filmed here during 2006, it started at Wandsworth Prison and finished at this cemetery’s mortuary.


On a day in July loud explosions were widely heard emanating it was thought from Redlees Park.  Now the tale is told that the Bomb Squad arrived there at that time with out of date chemicals from Gumley Academy.  A hole was dug into which these were placed to enable them to be exploded and made safe.   Perhaps better news for Redlees is that Greenspace 360 have tracked down someone who has re-commenced maintaining the vineyard; contact has also been made with Green Gym TCV whose volunteers meet in the park one day a week with a view to making some more permanent arrangement for tending the vines.  Meantime the decaying knee high railings have been removed from the shrubbery around the tennis courts and all six benches funded by CIL monies that TIS obtained are now in situ.  Some of these funds remain. It has been suggested these may be put towards long overdue improvements to the main Worple Road entrance where bollards delineating separation of a path for pedestrians from that for cars have been installed. The car park is now pay and display with a new surround of pebbles which are being scattered far and wide.  A pilot for new signage, eventually to be used Boroughwide, went in during December about which some reservations have been expressed as to their suitability, one of which is the small section intended for relevant public notices containing numerous holes which apparently facilitate attaching free flowing leaflets by use of string!


On the subject of parks, those familiar with the disused field of some 110 acres known as Rectory Farm, bordered by The Parkway and Bath Road, Hounslow, may like to be aware that at long last work has begun on detailed ground investigation and survey works.  This is preparatory to a two-year programme of analysis and profiling work leading to appointment by the owner of the land, Formal Investments, of a main contractor. The ultimate objective is to create the largest new park for more than 100 years in West London while forming sunken warehousing and extracting minerals which it is said will attract c2,500 new jobs.  The plan is to phase work by identifying the first areas that can be landscaped and opened to the public.   


For the year 2018/19 Hounslow rated fourth worst affected London Borough for reported fly tipping incidents with a recorded 21,897.  The Council aims to achieve a more attractive borough as another part of its Cleaner Greener project.  Tackling persistent dumping of litter and waste is being dealt with through what is called a Grime & Punishment campaign and the law.  Fly tipping from large scale unwanted items to leaving unwanted carrier bags of waste in and by public bins is self-evidently detrimental to the street scene and open spaces.  When observed it should be reported via the revised website or calling 020 8583 2000.  Grime and Punishment appeals to residents appear on-line and social medial to help identify culprits caught in the act of fly tipping.  Identities can be reported using or 020 8572 8859. Relevant content showing those causing misdemeanours can be found at


Locally St John’s Road at London Road end has been blighted by continuous dumping of rubbish over the past year, mainly at Aylett and Loring Road junctions.  Persistent reports resulted in monitoring of the area culminating on 19th December with an operation leading to two residents being issued Fixed Penalty Notice fines. Even so, over Christmas offences continued unabated.   Advice letters have been posted to properties in the wider surrounding area advising how to dispose of their domestic waste correctly, also reminding fly tipping is an offence that can result in a £400 fine for offenders or more if prosecution action follows.  All local businesses in that area have been checked to ensure they are compliant with the terms of their required waste trade agreements.

B J Woods Boatyard became a popular visit during the summer guided by Thames Discovery volunteers following re-discovery of ML286 believed to be the only surviving WW1 submarine chaser partly buried in silt beside Isleworth Ait.  Sadly, it is in a much decayed condition. Apparently it has been known by some to be located there since around 2009.  These small, fast, naval, wooden vessels were regarded as an important, innovative invention and originally ordered for the U.S. Navy in large numbers specifically intended to chase, locate and combat attacks by German U-Boats.  Some 442 were built between 1917-19 and many found their way to allied nations by way of Lend Lease agreements in World War ll.  Later in the year this find featured in BBC4’s Digging for Britain.

Staying with the riverside, at All Saints’ Churchyard the next stage of agreed works began during late October resulting in vastly reduced undergrowth thus revealing many tombstones which have not been visible for a very long time. How fitting also that in 2019 a memorial headed “Great War 1914 – 1919 Roll of Honour” was resurrected from a forgotten hiding place in All Saints’ basement.  This was once located at the Mission Church allied to All Saints. Now it has been renovated and is on display at the church showing fifty recorded, names.

During the summer rumour spread of support for removing the crane on the river embankment at the former Taylor’s Wharf where the Duke of Northumberland’s River flows into the Thames.   This crane is included in Hounslow’s Local Heritage List, as a reminder of when Isleworth was a busy port, which hopefully gives sufficient protection to prevent its loss.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for the outline of the weighbridge located beside 20 Church Street once used to judge weight and value of cargoes arriving and departing.   It was specifically left on view through consents granted for planning permissions on adjacent properties, but is now covered by ugly asphalt.   So far efforts to achieve its reprieve have proved fruitless.

To end news from Turner’s House comes in the form of an exhibition (See centre page for details) showing rare oil sketches on loan from the Tate Gallery seldom seen previously in public.  Entitled Turner and the Thames it comprises paintings on wood panels of scenes Isleworth to Windsor.  These were executed when he rented Syon Ferry House 1805-6.  There is also talk of a forthcoming publication by Turner’s House Trust focusing on Turner’s paintings The Matchless Vale, centred around Isleworth, Kew and Twickenham.



Scarves advertised in Museum Selection “Capture floral design depicted in the east window of the Church of St Mary, Isleworth, by Alfred Hassam (1843-68), printed silk habotai - £47.99”. Busts at Isleworth Library including of Vincent Van Gogh, are now more prominently displayed and can be viewed from the main foyer. In November it was announced Brentford Sorting & Delivery Office, London Road’s will close because its lease expires 2021; the plan is to move this facility to Feltham. Cathja’s Kitchen Table charity shop. St John’s Road, has closed its short lease having ended. Isleworth Leisure Centre underwent a £900,000 refurbishment, including new gym equipment, revamp of pools and changing rooms, funded by Hounslow Council and Fusion Lifestyle which manages the facility.  Richmond Half Lock pedestrian bridge closed since July for refurbishment is not expected to re-open for a few months more.  From last October, ownership of Wyevale’s Osterley Garden Centre passed to British Garden Centres. Brentford’s War Memorial plaque to market traders formerly at Brentford Market has been locally listed.  It is now located at Western International Market’s entrance.